Thursday, October 20, 2011

Puppy Love

This is Stella (aka Stellllaaaaaaaaa!), the newest member of our family and stealer of sleep, bringer of chaos, bringer of joy!  We're smitten!

 I'd love to post some more pics, but, being the squirmy little creature that she is, it's hard to get her to hold still long enough to pose for the camera.

We're having so much fun with her!  She came home with us last Saturday, Oct. 15th, from the Berkeley Animal Shelter, the very same place that dear old Spider once resided.  We've been missing that old gal like crazy, and we always will.  And also, we've been feeling for awhile that we're ready to have a new dog friend, not only for ourselves, but for big Bloom, who's been pretty lonely without his old pal.

This is a pic of Bloom & Spider together on her last day of life.  Still breaks my heart!!

We thought we'd wait until the end of the year, but oops, we just couldn't resist a visit to the shelter last Saturday... and when we met this little bundle of energy, it didn't take long to come to the conclusion that the time was going to be now, and the dog was going to be her.  Our fates were sealed!

The listing on said she was part of a litter of Great Dane mix puppies, but the paperwork they sent us home with says she's part Mastiff.  We saw a picture of her mama, and she looked kind of like a chocolate Lab, so who knows?  As of now, she weighs 31 pounds and is approximately 4 months old.  She'll probably be bigger than Spider was, but not as big as Bloom.

We start dog training class tomorrow, hooray!  It'll be a great learning experience for all of us, I'm sure.  Having a new dog has got me reading a lot and thinking a lot about how to best raise her to be happy and healthy pup who'll live a good long life.  I'm quite intrigued by the possibility of a raw foods diet, or maybe even a cooked foods diet.  I've read a lot of articles that seem to say that at worst, dried kibble dog food is full of all sorts of awful things, and that even the higher quality brands are very highly processed.  I don't want to consume many processed foods or meat from factory farms, and I would rather my pets didn't either, but I still have some research to do.  Food for thought.

And speaking of food... I'm still searching for the perfect recipe for Ribolitta, that amazing Tuscan soup with kale & cannellini beans that we had several times in Florence.  I made my own  version last week, and while it was good, it wasn't insanely, dreamily good like it was in Florence... but then, I guess most things aren't!  But I'm going to keep trying out recipes so if anybody out there has tips, please send them my way.

Lastly... I'm trying out some new looks here at Soup and Song, so apologies if things look funny for awhile.  Thanks for checking in. Hope all is well in your world!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ah, Italy!

Ciao, friends!

We made it back from Italy.  What an experience for the senses it was - the tastes, the sights, the sounds!  Warm breezes, blue skies, blue waters, red wine, salty anchovies, bright and beautiful vegetables, impeccably dressed Italians whizzing by on mopeds and motorcycles,  the hypnotic sound of water lapping against the side of the ferry, the musical sound of Italians speaking their language to one another, the scent of bread baking, that first bite of pistachio gelato, oh my.  Words can't do it justice.  It was an absolute pleasure to soak it all in, and I am still soaking in the memory of it all.

I so wanted to fill my suitcase with practically everything we saw - beautiful vegetables!  Delicate glass jewelry!  Prosciutto!  Bottle after bottle of wine!  Espresso!  Espresso makers!  Pasta!  Cheese!

Well, the suitcase wouldn't have been able to make it onto the plane if I'd done that, so we didn't bring a whole lot back with us.  We mostly bought what we could consume while we were there, and that was enough to keep us perfectly happy.

But I just couldn't resist that big, salty hunk of worries that I had to lug it around for a couple of days and pack it up nicely in my suitcase!  I just this moment finished chopping it into smaller chunks to give to friends.  Some people show their love with sweets and some of us show it with cheese.  Yay for cheese!

More coming soon!  But for now, a few photos and a quick moment to give thanks for the opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful experience, with such a wonderful human being by my side.  I am so, so thankful!

One of the greatest meals of the trip, or maybe my whole life, was inside these humble walls in Florence.   It was here I had my first taste of ribollita, with which I am now obsessed.  More about that later!

Spaghetti with freshly caught anchovies from the sea in Cinque Terre, at Trattoria Lanterna.  OH. MY. GOD. Another food highlight.

Produce market in Lido.  Such beauty!

        Masks in Venice.

The pizza of my dreams, also in Lido.